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Norwegian Fjords shore excursions

Discussion in 'Know Before You Go' started by sknippel, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. sknippel

    sknippel Active Member

    We are planning to cruise the Norwegian Fjords and North Cape on the Princess Caribbean Princess June 19, 2012. What shore excursions would you recommend? Are there any independent tour guides rather than booking the shore excursions through Princess?
     
  2. bob

    bob Chief Engineer Staff Member

    There are always independent guides at all the ports, the key point and strictly a matter of individual preference is how comfortable and experienced you are with handling your own arrangements and tours. As a rule, it is always cheaper to book directly with a tour company rather than through any cruise line, including Princess. But the down side is, if you book your own and something happens that puts you back to the ship late, you may be waving bye to the ship, if you book through Princess the ship will wait for all ships tours to be accounted for before sailing, so if you book your own make sure you have your passport, credit card and contact information for the Princess port agent with you in case you need to get to the next port on your own. That said, if you want to book your own, research the options by going through the list of tours in the Princess guide then search out the tours on the internet to find alternate vendors, many of which can be contacted through websites or email and can even be pre-booked. If you choose to use Princess, consider pre-booking them through your personalizer as the popular ones will sell out and you may be up a creek if you wait to book onboard.
     
  3. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    Which ports of call do you have on your cruise? I've been on North Cape cruises multiple times (and would return again in a heartbeat).

    I presume your port for North Cape is Honningsvaag? You definitely want to visit North Cape...and take the ship's excursion to do so. North Cape is about a 60 minute drive from the port in each direction through tundra-like land. No safety net, so to speak, if you were to break down on your own.

    I don't have your itinerary in front of me - but if your ports include Bergen, Trondheim or Tromsoe, you can do some sightseeing on your own, however, I am NOT an advocate of doing so everywhere. As bOB pointed out above, a "cheaper" excursion on your own can ultimately turn out to be an extremely expensive one if you've missed returning to the ship on time and have to make your way - at your expense - to the next port.

    The scenery in the fjords is spectacular. Enjoy! I'll be happy to help if I can.
     
  4. BruinSteve

    BruinSteve Well-Known Member

    I found your itinerary:

    1 London (Southampton), England 5:00 PM
    2 At Sea
    3 Bergen, Norway 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
    4 Hellesylt, Norway 8:00 AM 10:00 AM
    4 Geiranger, Norway 12:00 PM 6:00 PM
    5 At Sea
    6 Honningsvag (North Cape), Norway 12:00 PM 11:00 PM
    7 Tromso, Norway 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
    8 Gravdal (Lofoten Islands), Norway 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
    9 At Sea
    10 Flaam, Norway 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
    11 Stavanger, Norway 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
    12 At Sea
    13 London (Southampton), England 5:00 AM

    We've been to Hellesylt, Geiranger and Bergen on a cruise a few years back...and, after looking for private guides, opted to just do it all with Shore Excursions.

    We're going back in July 2012--a different itinerary than yours, ours, on Celebrity Eclipse, is a 14 nighter (July 7) and goes to Iceland and the Faroe Islands rather than the northern end of Norway...visiting Flam, Geiranger, Molde and Bergen in Norway...

    On our roll call (on a different website), many posters have found recommended private tour providers for Iceland and the Faroe Islands, though nothing yet for Norway...Many on our cruise are booking the Flam Railroad via the website to do "on their own", but we are opting for a shore excursion there...

    On the whole, in researching for two different cruises in this region, I have found far fewer tour providers than in any other area in which we have cruised...and what I have found have been way too expensive...
    This is one area where I will likely again stick with the ship's shore excursion offerings...

    Good luck...
     
  5. Jeanie

    Jeanie Well-Known Member

    This sure sounds like a nice cruise, have fun
     
  6. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

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    Perhaps you'll enjoy these photos from one of my North Cape cruises. The first two photos are in the fjords while the last two photos are of the sun at midnight off North Cape and North Cape promontory itself.
     
  7. Funnel

    Funnel Sweden Unleased - Special Contributor

    I agree with BruinSteve, I guess that private tours in Norway will be at least as expensive as the excursions provided by the ship. Norway is one of the most expensive countries (if not the most expensive) in the world.

    In Geiranger my recommendation is to take a tour that brings you to mount Dalsnibba. Excellent views from up there, but it can be rather cold.

    Mary Ann, stunning photos and views! :doubleup:

    Due to inspiration from Mary Ann's photos I will add two from a cruise I made 2 years ago to Norway.
    The first one is from Bergen. The most rainy place in Norway so bring your umbrella!

    [​IMG]

    And here is a shot from Geiranger. My favourite fjord in Norway.

    [​IMG]

    /Erik
     
  8. sknippel

    sknippel Active Member

    You found our itinerary all right! We were thinking about the cruise you are going on, but we are going with another couple and he did not want to do 14 nights.

    I thought about trying to do the Flam Railroad on our own, but I think I read that the cruise ship people get to go ahead of individuals.

    You are right, everything is very expensive. I'm glad we have almost a year to save up!
     
  9. sknippel

    sknippel Active Member

    Mary Ann,
    Thank you for the wonderful pictures!!! I can hardly wait to go! BruinSteve found our itinerary. So do you have any special excursions you would recommend in these places?

    Erik,
    Thanks for your pictures too! I'll have to check on an excursion to Mount Dalsnibba.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  10. sknippel

    sknippel Active Member

    Bob,
    I have done private tour guides before. But I can see Norway is different from say the Caribbean. From everything I've read, I think we will still with booking through Princess. I have heard how quickly the tours sell out, so I'm planning to pre-book our shore excursions. Thanks for your help!
     
  11. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Forever Remembered

    With an acknowledgement to Steve, I am copying the itinerary he posted:

    1 London (Southampton), England 5:00 PM
    2 At Sea
    3 Bergen, Norway 10:00 AM 6:00 PM
    4 Hellesylt, Norway 8:00 AM 10:00 AM
    4 Geiranger, Norway 12:00 PM 6:00 PM
    5 At Sea
    6 Honningsvag (North Cape), Norway 12:00 PM 11:00 PM
    7 Tromso, Norway 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
    8 Gravdal (Lofoten Islands), Norway 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
    9 At Sea
    10 Flaam, Norway 8:00 AM 6:00 PM
    11 Stavanger, Norway 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
    12 At Sea
    13 London (Southampton), England 5:00 AM

    First of all, I agree about taking ship's tours except where you can walk around on your own.

    BERGEN - this city is easily walkable if you wish. It's a medieval merchant city, rich in history. A popular excursion to do on your own is to take the Floibanen (Funicular) from the center of Bergen up to Floeyen Mountain - very pretty panorama of the city and environs if the weather is clear. Although it's usually quite crowded these days, I find the fish market quite interesting - in addition to fish, there are fresh fruits, flowers, craft items. If music is of any interest, Bergen is the home of Norway's most famous composer and pianist, Edvard Grieg - you may wish to visit the Edvard Grieg Museum, Troldhaugen. In a completely different vein, if you enjoy shopping, I've found the prices - expensive as they are - to be "cheaper" in Bergen than as you head farther north.

    HELLESYLT - usually a technical stop for those who wish to take an overland tour to Geiranger instead of cruising the fjord to Geiranger. My personal choice has always been to cruise between the two towns. The Geirangerfjord is spectacular.

    GEIRANGER - almost every popular photo of the Norwegian fjords is taken in the Geirangerfjord and from atop Mount Dalsnibba overlooking the town of Geiranger and its fjord (Funnel/Erik posted a beautiful photo in his post). My recommendation is to take the ship's tour to the summit of Mt. Dalsnibba - and be sure to bring your camera!

    HONNINGSVAAG - this is the port for North Cape. I definitely recommend the ship's tour to North Cape. It's about a one-hour drive through tundra-like land. You'll see reindeer along the way. The weather at North Cape is unpredictable, but still definitely worth the trip. Last time I was there, it was unbelievably sunny and warm (the two photos I posted). More commonly, it will be cold and windy - sometimes rainy. I've experienced both extremes - sunny/warm/shirtsleeve weather and cold/windy/rainy to the point where you can barely see a few feet in front of you. There's an interesting IMAX-type theatre and a large visitor centre.

    TROMSOE - this is the capitol of Northern Norway above the Arctic Circle, and a town I find most interesting and charming. I would recommend a general ship's tour here. Tromsoe is a university town - the university includes a medical school famous for its work on diagnosing S.A.D. - Seasonal Affective Disorder - where people become depressed in winter with darkness. Being north of the Arctic Circle, Tromsoe experiences 24 hour daylight in summer, but also 24 hour darkness in winter.

    Sorry I've not been to the LOFOTEN ISLANDS.

    FLAAM - I enjoy simply walking around the town, but many want to take the Flaamsbana, Flaam Railroad. Some enjoy the ride, others do not. The train usually is quite crowded - not only cruise passengers but "locals" as well. Sometimes the train can be late (hint: take the ship's tour to protect yourself). The scenery in the mountains is spectacular - but again, be aware that the train might be crowded.

    STAVANGER - is a commercial (petroleum) port, but much prettier than I would have expected. Another historic town, very picturesque on the Stangerfjord and Lysefjord. I'd walk around the town.

    These are personal opinions only - others may well have other suggestions to add.

    Hope I've helped a bit.
     
  12. sknippel

    sknippel Active Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions. We changed our minds and decided to do a 14 day Norwegian Fjords Collectors' Voyage with HAL. So our itinerary has changed:
    Day Date Port Arrive Depart
    0 21 Jul 2012 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 05:00 PM
    1 22 Jul 2012 At Sea
    2 23 Jul 2012 Oslo, Norway 08:00 AM 05:00 PM
    2 23 Jul 2012 Scenic cruising Oslo Fjord CO
    3 24 Jul 2012 Kristiansand, Norway TR 08:00 AM 05:00 PM
    4 25 Jul 2012 Stavanger, Norway 08:00 AM 04:00 PM
    4 25 Jul 2012 Scenic cruising Lysefjord CO
    5 26 Jul 2012 Scenic cruising Sognefjord CO
    5 26 Jul 2012 Flam, Norway TR 07:00 AM 06:00 PM
    6 27 Jul 2012 At Sea
    7 28 Jul 2012 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 07:00 AM 05:00 PM
    8 29 Jul 2012 At Sea
    9 30 Jul 2012 Bergen, Norway 08:00 AM 05:00 PM
    10 31 Jul 2012 Cruising Geirangerfjord CO
    10 31 Jul 2012 Geiranger, Norway TR 09:00 AM 06:00 PM
    11 01 Aug 2012 Alesund, Norway 07:00 AM 03:00 PM
    12 02 Aug 2012 Scenic cruising Hardangerfjord CO
    12 02 Aug 2012 Eidfjord, Norway 08:00 AM 05:00 PM
    13 03 Aug 2012 At Sea
    14 04 Aug 2012 Rotterdam, The Netherlands 07:00 AM

    So do you have any additional ideas for shore excursions?
     

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